We’re nearly a week into the NBA Playoffs and most of the series are shifting to the opponents home floor. We’ve had plenty of action so far as Boston and Brooklyn gave us a classic this past Sunday afternoon. Let’s take a look at the biggest developments from each series so far.
Miami Heat vs Atlanta Hawks: Jimmy Butler has Returned to his 2020 Form
After a disappointing postseason last year, Jimmy Butler has returned to his bubble form in the first two games of this series. After a solid game one, Butler dominated game two – scoring 45 points and leading Miami to a 2-0 series lead. If Jimmy can continue to play at this level, Miami can be a team that can win the east with its defense and shooters.
Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets: Udoka’s Defensive Schemes
The Boston Celtics entered 2022 as a play-in team, but turned it around and finished as the number two seed in the East due to their defense. Boston had the best defensive rating in the NBA after the All-Star break and that defense has carried them so far in this series. Kevin Durant is only shooting 32% from the floor through two games. The Celtics’ defense is swarming him and knocking him around as much as possible. If Nash can’t find a way to free Kevin Durant up, Brooklyn is in serious trouble.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Chicago Bulls: Middleton’s Injury Looms Over Bucks
This series is more competitive than many people anticipated. Despite their top three players struggling shooting from the floor in game one, Chicago was competitive and only lost by 7. DeMar DeRozan bounced back in game two with a spectacular 41 point performance. The Bucks are looking shaky, as Jrue Holiday hasn’t played his best ball so far this series and Kris Middleton has a MCL sprain. Middleton is getting an MRI to determine the severity of the sprain. As this series shifts to the windy city, uncertainty is looming over the Bucks.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Toronto Raptors: Maxey is the 76ers 2nd Scoring Option
Tyrese Maxey has been excellent in three games so far versus the Raptors. Maxey is averaging nearly 27 points a game on 60% shooting from the floor and 47% from three. If Maxey can consistently be a viable 2nd option it lets Harden become a facilitator and makes Philly a more dangerous team. Joel Embiid’s dagger in game three has pretty much ended this series. Philly needs to close the series game four and allow their MVP candidate to rest before the 2nd round
Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram is Big Time
Much will be made of Devin Booker’s hamstring injury, and rightfully so. Booker’s injury will be a blow to the top-seeded Suns, however what can’t be lost is that Brandon Ingram has played fantastic for the Pelicans so far this series. Ingram is averaging 27.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 6.5 assist through the first two games. If Ingram can continue this strong play this will be a competitive series.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Ant Man is Coming
Anthony Edwards is one of the game’s bright stars and he had a coming out performance in game one vs Memphis. Edwards was the best player on the floor, scoring 36 points and dishing out six assists. As expected, Memphis rebounded in game two. As this series now shifts to Minneapolis, Edwards will have to continue to shine bright for the Wolves to pull an upset.
Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets: Warriors have a New Death Lineup
The Golden State Warriors have a new death lineup and it should put the rest of the NBA on notice. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green have an offensive rating of 204.3 and a defensive rating of 75.3 – absolutely absurd numbers when this unit is on the floor. Jordan Poole has been the catalyst for the Warriors so far, leading the team with 29.5 points a game in the first two games.
Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz: Brunson’s Game Two Sets Up Luka’s Return
Jalen Brunson is going to earn himself a nice payday after his game two performance. Brunson scored 41 points to lead the Mavs to an upset win at home over Utah – evening the series at 1-1. Dallas is in a favorable position as Luka Doncic has been upgraded to questionable for game three. Just having Luka on the floor will make things more difficult for a Jazz team that has looked shaky in the first two games of this series.